Thanksgiving is one of our favorite times of year in New York City. It kicks off the beautiful holiday season and is a wonderful holiday in its own right. It’s also the time of year when one of New York’s greatest public events takes place – the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. If you’re searching for some great seasonal activities and things to do in November, check out a few of these suggestions. Here are our top attractions and events to make the most of Thanksgiving in New York, including:

  • Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
  • Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar
  • Holiday Train Show
  • Bank of America Winter Village
  • Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting

Save on attraction admission

Regular admission to a number of these New York attractions is available on the Go New York Explorer Pass®. Choose as you go from dozens of top attractions and save up to 50% on combined admission vs paying at the gate. See all available New York passes, attractions & prices. Please note, some of these special November events may be separately ticketed and not included in the Go New York Explorer Pass®.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

From 77th Street to 34th Street

new york city explorer pass thanksgiving macy parade
There isn't a more iconic holiday event in New York City than the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. You could get up at the crack of dawn to stake out a good spot. Or, could be relaxing at home with the TV on... and it looks like this year the second option is the only option!
That's right, in 2020, the Macy's Thankgiving Day Parade is due to be an entirely digital affair, with the 94th instalment of the annual parade being a televisual presentation due to coronavirus restrictions. 
Nevertheless, you’re likely making this parade a part of your Thanksgiving Day. Look for all your favorite cartoon characters to make their debut as giant balloons. Even though the parade won't be taking place down its fabled route, it remains an event not to be missed! 

Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar

501 Union Street

new york city explorer pass thanksgiving
Image credit: Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar.
A great destination for all your holiday shopping needs is the Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar. Browse through hundreds of beautiful gifts from local makers and select national crafters. You’ll find everything from paintings to handmade paper to handcrafted jewelry. Enjoy festive music and grab a bite to eat from participating vendors to get in the festive spirit. After shopping, make the most of the neighborhood with a walking tour. Getting In: Admission to the Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar is free, and Brooklyn walking tour tickets are available with the Go New York Explorer Pass®.

Holiday Train Show

New York Botanical Garden

new york city explorer pass thanksgiving
Image credit: New York Botanical Garden
This uniquely New York phenomenon is a sight to behold. Come to the New York Botanical Garden to find yourself immersed in a magical world of nature and technology. Watch trains wind through a wonderland of NYC landmarks and icons. All elements are constructed out of natural elements like bark, leaves, berries, and more. Plus, there's a half-mile of train tracks throughout, so you'll get to see plenty of the technological side, too. This annual event is beloved by locals and is a must-see for families and adults alike! Access to this special exhibit is included with regular admission. Getting In: New York Botanical Garden tickets are available with the Go New York Explorer Pass.

The Nutcracker Ballet

Lincoln Center

This Thanksgiving weekend, don't miss out on the opportunity to celebrate the holiday season with an iconic performance of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. It's a tour de force of flawless ballet, gorgeous sets and costumes, and a timeless score. No wonder some people go every year! If you don't get to see The Nutcracker, it's still worth taking a tour of Lincoln Center to see the holiday decorations. Getting In: Lincoln Center Tour tickets are available with the Go New York Explorer Pass. Tickets to The Nutcracker are separately priced and are not included with the pass.

Bank of America Winter Village

Bryant Park

new york city explorer pass thanksgiving
Image credit: Bryant Park Facebook page.
Searching for a unique, yet affordable place to pick up holiday gifts in New York City? The Winter Village in Chelsea’s Bryant Park should be on your list. There are more than 120 shops, kiosks, food stands, and more. You’ll be able to find something for everyone on your list. This European-inspired market provides an excellent souvenir-shopping opportunity too! Don’t forget about the ice-skating. Skating is free (although you need to bring your own skates), and Bryant Park’s massive outdoor rink is a sight to behold. The ice-skating rink is open until March. Getting In: Admission to Winter Village is free.

Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting

Rockefeller Center

If you happen to be in town for a few days after Thanksgiving Weekend, it's worth a trip to Rockefeller Center to see them light their iconic tree. Typically a Norwegian Spruce, this tree will arrive in NYC in early November. A massive 30,000 LED lights and a Swarovski crystal star will decorate the tree. The lights are switched on during this ceremony, however! This year's ceremony will take place on Wednesday, December 4, from 7 - 10 PM. This special holiday tradition is sure to inspire the festive spirit in you. While you're in the area, why not take a tour of Rockefeller Center? You will learn all about its significance and rich history. Getting In: It's free to watch the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting. Admission to the Rockefeller Center tour is included in the Go New York pass.

Remember to save on attraction admission

However you decide to celebrate Thanksgiving in New York 2019, we’re sure you’ll find some delightful things to do in November. From markets to festive parades and much more, we love NY! Remember, many of these great options are available on the Explorer Pass, where you can save up to 50% on combined admission vs. paying at the gate. Please note, the November and Thanksgiving events taking place at some of these attractions may be separately ticketed and not included with the Go New York Explorer Pass®. Consider adding a few of these fun options to your November weekend itineraries. Happy Thanksgiving!

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